A sugar calorie is a calorie no matter the type and Americans consume about 300 additional calories a day from the sweet substance. Yet, are some sugar calories more harmful? There has been much controversy over the safety of high-fructose corn syrup and much of it has been supported by research. As the amount of fructose consumed in the American diet increases, some researchers see problems.
High fructose corn syrup is not radically different than regular sugar or sucrose which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. High fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. The fructose from corn is mixed with corn syrup which is essentially pure glucose. The difference though may be significant. In sucrose the two molecules are linked while in high fructose corn syrup the two molecules are severed. Debates persist as to whether this is significant.
Fructose is metabolized in the liver which is where fats are metabolized. Elizabeth Parks et al., from University of Minnesota found that as people consumed more high fructose corn syrup triglyceride levels rose significantly.
Another researcher, Dr Chi-tang Ho, a professor of Food Science at Rutgers, found very high levels of a substance called reactive carbonyls in sugary carbonated drinks. These carbonyls, which can cause tissue damage, are formed when the bonds between fructose and glucose sever.
The unresolved concerns warrant more research indeed, but in the meantime if you can't kick the soda habit try seltzer with a bit of juice, a squeeze of lemon and a lot of ice cubes.